Green Home Remodeling: Making Your Home More Sustainable

By Bob Gorman

Steps to a more sustainable home

Your home is your greatest opportunity to make an eco-friendly impact on the world. From your appliances to your roof, you can make your home more sustainable and create a more eco-friendly footprint as you live a greener lifestyle. Every little bit matters!

Start with a professional energy audit

Even with all the blog posts in the world, you won’t be able to create an accurate assessment of your energy footprint without a little bit of outside help. Have a professional energy auditor go through your home and assess how much energy you’re using and where you can most effectively make positive changes.

Look closer at your roof

The goal of your roof is to keep the outside in its place: that is, not in the middle of your living room. It protects you from excessive sun, keeps rainwater out of your house, and helps keep you warm in winter. Your roof, however, can be so much more than that. When you’re thinking green, you have a wide variety of options for putting your roof to the best possible use. You can change its color to make sure it reflects the sun and keeps your house cool, install solar panels to convert the sun to energy that will power your home, or literally “green up” your roof and use it as an extended yard or other living space when you turn it into a garden. Your roof is one of the biggest spaces in your home and therefore one of the most important when it comes to going green.

Choose your materials carefully

Use a local source for as many of your building materials as possible. You can have the most eco-friendly home imaginable and negate a chunk of that benefit simply by needing to ship the bulk of your materials across the country. Also, look for renovation options that allow you to use recycled or repurposed materials instead of new ones. You can create reclaimed wood floors, use recycled glass tiles, or look for ways to incorporate existing items into your decor: whatever works for you!

Make your insulation a priority

Your heating and cooling efforts will require a great deal of the energy allotted for your home. While you can cut down on some of these expenses by installing a fireplace for heat and using fans and natural airflow to keep your home cool, it’s also important to ensure that your heating and cooling efforts aren’t going straight out your doors and windows–literally! Check for cracks and crevices, make sure that your windows aren’t letting out excessive energy, and look for ways to reduce your energy needs. A well-insulated home will require less effort to keep warm during the winter and cool during the summer.

Install a programmable thermostat

When you’re asleep, your home can be cooler than during the daytime hours, when you need to crank up the heat in order to be comfortable as you go about your day. Likewise, when you’re out of the house, you don’t have to maintain as much temperature control. Chances are, however, that you aren’t going to remember to make those changes yourself. Installing a programmable thermostat will help ensure that your home is always at the ideal temperature without requiring a lot of effort on your part.

Try a tankless water heater

If you’ve ever had the experience of running out of hot water halfway through your shower, a tankless water heater probably already sounds appealing. In addition, a tankless water heater only heats the water that’s actually being used, rather than keeping a tank full of water ready at all times. Over time, this can produce a substantial savings on your energy bill and significantly lower your energy usage. As an added bonus, tankless water heaters often last longer than the bulkier models in most homes.

When you decide to start a green remodeling project, there are plenty of aspects to consider. Depending on your budget, you can make a significant impact on the earth from the comfort of your own home. Working with a smaller budget? It’s okay to start small! When it comes to saving the earth, every little bit helps.

Image credit: neo-planete via Google images

Eco News Roundup: Communities around the country find ways to care for Earth

  • How have attitudes and best practices in the built environment translated to a better understanding of sustainability? This first article shows examples of living better harmony with our surrounding environment.

Communities around the country find ways to care for Earth

Communities around the country find ways to care for Earth

Sustainable living has gone mainstream. Whether they live in a LEED-certified vacation development in the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon or a quaint New England town with a goal of reducing carbon emissions, Americans celebrated Earth Day this year finding ways to better exist in harmony with the environment and their local communities. (Photo: Gary Hall Photography)
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  • Next we look at how community partnerships: Kessler Homes is the exclusive builder for the Southern Oaks community near Tallahassee, Florida. A new partnership with Leon Trees is shaping the future development of the community in many positive ways.

Eco News Roundup: Communities around the country find ways to care for Earth

Kessler partners with Leon Trees for green efforts

Kessler Construction, an award-winning custom homebuilder in Tallahassee, is making a positive environmental mark through their Earth Day and National Arbor Day efforts in partnership with Leon Trees and the Florida State University Environmental Service Program.

“When we decided to partner with Leon Trees we did not realize the huge impact it would have on the development of the Southern Oaks Community,” said President of Kessler Construction, Mark Kessler. “We are building smart, green, sustainable homes and Leon Trees helped us to expand our vision of sustainability beyond building materials,” Mark added. (Photo: Provided by Kessler)
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The Increased Popularity and Necessity of Sustainable Homes

By Bob Gorman

Homeowners are awakening to the need for more sustainable homesThe housing market is starting to bounce back with full force, but it’s certainly never going to be the same. Consumers have learned their lesson, and the market will show it.

For too many years, home sizes and their accompanying energy demands have just kept growing and growing without regard to the effect on the environment. After the housing crash, consumers had an awakening, and now sustainable homes will be the future of the real estate market.

Not too long ago, LEED and Energy Star rated homes were just an occasional oddity. However, sustainable homes are quickly becoming mainstream. Long gone are energy wasting McMansions and unaffordable home loans. From here on out, homeowners will want low utility bills, water savings, and reasonable sized houses.

Energy savings

Homeowners, businesses, and consumers have started to accept that our nation is facing an energy crisis that will never go away. There simply isn’t enough oil to last future generations, coal is becoming more difficult to mine, and solar isn’t a stand-alone option without significant increases in battery technology.

Sustainable homes incorporate many small changes, which are generally unnoticeable to the homeowner, for big energy savings. According to Boutique Homes, simply building homes to face south, creating HVAC systems with zone control, using LED light bulbs, open design for flow-through ventilation and using better insulation add almost no cost to construction while creating massive energy savings for homeowners.

Wise water use

Today, sustainable homes need wise water management to be appealing to consumers. After all, aquifers are drying up, droughts continue to get worse, and our water needs only going to rise.

Thankfully, over the years, technology has been able to catch up with our dire need to save water. Long gone are the days of underperforming low flow toilets and disappointing water saving faucets.

However, sustainable homes try to take their water saving ability beyond smart bathroom fixtures. When planned carefully, rainwater can be harvested, shower water can be used to flush toilets, and water from washing machines can irrigate gardens.

Additionally, homeowners are more open to xeriscapes than ever before. Gravel yards are a thing of the past. Landscape design options can seamlessly blend attractive water saving greenery into any neighborhood.

Smaller homes

The tiny house movement is here to stay, and while ultra small homes under are not likely to become mass produced anytime soon, the philosophy is spreading.

More and more homeowners want a reasonably sized home along with the environmentally friendly benefits and financial freedom that come with one. As a result, average home sizes are dropping, sometimes drastically. In fact, several developments of tiny apartments and compact homes are popping up across the nation.

Use of alternative energy

For a home to be considered sustainable today, use of alternative energy is a must. In most climates, either solar or wind is an option. Smart home design coupled with the use of alternative energy can even create an ultra-green home that can essentially function off the grid.

Financial incentives

For a long time now, homeowners have been offered rebates by utility companies or government agencies for upgrading their homes to be more energy efficient. However, retrofitting homes isn’t ideal as it’s an unaffordable expense for many. Recognizing that more sustainable homes need to be built, but that green building needs to be financially affordable, multiple financial incentives are available for LEED or Energy Star certified homes.

The future of the real estate market is just as clear as our need for a greener future. Sustainable homes will be demanded by consumers. Besides the positive effect on the environment, homeowners also enjoy lower utility bills and the satisfying feeling of preserving nature for future generations.


Image credit: Dominic Alves, courtesy flickr



Net Zero Home: An Affordable Green Option for Homeowners

There is a new competitor for certified green homes in Utah, known as Net Zero certified homes. Zero Home, the first of these eco-friendly Utah residences, is totally green, energy efficient and completely certified.

What Makes Zero Home Unique?

Save money and resources with a net zero homeWith amenities such as geothermal heating, special green-conscious insulation, special cooling and heating units, and solar technologies, many green homes are popping up all over the country. Zero Home, however, takes things just a few steps further.

If you simply look at it quickly, it is difficult to see what sets Zero Home apart from all the rest. However, a more in-depth examination tells a different story. Zero Home has heating and cooling units in and around the property, numerous solar panels on the roof, and a number of other features that will make any environmentally conscious homeowner happy. There is even an outlet in the garage, specifically designed for an electric car. Best of all, it is functional, practical, affordable, and energy efficient!

Why Purchase a Net Zero Home?

The competition for new homes is fierce, and many contractors who build energy efficient properties have been established for a number of years. While there are small differences between them all, the end result is typically the same; the buyer receives a green property built to their specifications, but it comes at a substantial cost.

The price for these homes is high, primarily because interested homeowners generally have to work with a custom builder. It is not unusual for someone to spend close to a million dollars, or more, to get the green home of their dreams. That high price tag means that many other environmentally conscious individuals, who would like to have a green home, are excluded from the buying process.

However, Net Zero homes are affordable. Designed to be reproduced on a vast scale, again and again, the price tag associated with these green homes is similar to a purely conventional home. While all the extra features do raise the price somewhat, it doesn’t get out of control because there is no custom builder involved. And, because these homes are so energy efficient, they can save the homeowner money over time.

Net Zero Homes, with their new mass produced certified green homes line, is the newest wave of the future in affordable green, energy efficient homes. It may soon be possible to find these green properties in other areas across the country as well, like in the Glen Head real estate market. One thing, however, is certain: with their functional and sleek designs, awesome energy efficiency, and other various amenities, Net Zero homes stand head and shoulders above their competition.

Image Credit: Green Energy Futures, courtesy flickr

Modernizing Your Home: Five Ways to Make Your Home More Green

By Kandace Heller

Greening your home in five simple stepsAs more people embrace a green lifestyle, they are looking for ways to make their homes more energy efficient. Fortunately, there are several ways a homeowner can improve the energy efficiency of his house. By using the latest green technologies, you can reduce your carbon footprint and energy costs. In some cases, you can even get tax credits or rebates for making such home improvements.

Replace old windows

In older homes, there are often air leaks around the windows. Older windows are also often single pane glass. By replacing all the windows in your home with new Energy Star rated windows, you keep your home more comfortable while lowering your energy bills. You can get double or triple pane glass windows. There are also windows with a special coating that lets in natural daylight but not the heat.

Replace old appliances

If your large appliances are old and also not Energy Star rated, it’s time to replace them with more energy efficient ones. The newest dishwashers and clothes washers also use less water so you can conserve water as you conserve electricity. Other old appliances to replace include refrigerators, ranges and clothes dryers.

Install low flow toilets and shower heads

Water conservation is also important if you want a greener home. The newest toilets use fewer gallons of water for each flush. This decrease in water use lowers your water bill. Low flow shower heads also use less water. By using these shower heads you also need less hot water so your electricity costs are less.

Install a new water heater

There are many new water heaters on the market  using green technologies. You can use a solar-powered water heater or a tankless water heater. Another option is an Energy Star rated water heater. You have many options available if you want to replace an old water heater.

Replace an old roof

If your roof is old and in need of extensive repairs, it’s probably time to get a new roof. The latest energy-efficient roofs come in a wide range of materials to suit the style of your home and the climate you live in. Some roofing materials now reflect the sunlight, while others protect against harsh winter storms. Another option is a green roof made of plants and grasses that help to preserve the roof, said officials of roofing St Louis MO.

For any type of energy efficient improvements you want to make to your home, you need to talk to experienced contractors for advice about windows, plumbing and roofing.